Sleep is essential for good health, yet getting enough of it eludes most Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than one in three American adults don't get enough sleep. For nearly 83 million of us, it's usually less than seven hours a night. Now there's a growing market for gadgets that promise to track sleep habits to help you get a better night's sleep.
"Most of us know we don't get enough sleep," CNET senior editor Scott Stein told "CBS This Morning" Thursday. "There's a lot of sleep tech that's out there with varying degrees of quality."
Beddit, for example, is a strip that users place under the bedsheet. Throughout the night, the strip monitors heart rate, how much time it takes to fall asleep, how much time is spent in various sleep stages (awake, light, deep sleep) and how often snoring occurs. It also provides users with a sleep score in the morning.
Sleepace Nox and Withings OR are devices that look like alarm clocks; they sit by the bed and play soothing music to fall asleep or wake up to. Withings OR also comes with a connected sleep pad that measures respiration, movement and heart rate.
Another device coming out in August called Nordic Track Sleep is a disc that goes under the mattress to track sleep patterns and heart rate. Stein, who tested out the device, said: "It actually measured my heart rate as well as anything I'd wear on my wrist, which is impressive."
However, he also noted some downsides to sleep tracking devices. "You have to lay in a certain spot. A lot of these get sensitive about that," he said.
It's also important to note that these devices only measure how you're sleeping and do not necessarily provide information on how to improve it.
"These are not medically approved devices," Stein said.
Despite his years of testing out health and sleep tracking devices, Stein said he was only diagnosed with sleep apnea after attending a sleep study last year. None of the devices were able to tell him that he had the condition.
"Now I use one of the 'Darth Vader' CPAP [machines]," he said.
Stein noted that the CPAP machine, which supports steady breathing for people with sleep apnea, also conditions him for better sleep in ways similar to some of these other, non-medical devices.
"There is something about creating a pattern at night to go to sleep," Stein said. The sleep data gathered by various sleep devices on the market is worth observing to develop better sleep patterns.
Fitbit released an app update earlier this week that tells users when to go to sleep. Users set sleep goals and the device recommends a bedtime based on a scheduled, personalized wake-up time.
"A lot of times we're not even giving ourselves enough time to sleep," Stein said. "That's part of the game here is creating a sleep schedule."